How to Measure Freight for Shipping

Measuring, weighing and calculating the necessary values to classify your freight largely determines your cost. Unishippers has provided a guide below to help you determine the accurate measurements and correct freight class for your shipment.

Measuring Freight Accurately is Top Priority

Since weight and dimensions are important in determining your freight cost, you need accurate numbers on your bill of lading (BOL) to avoid unexpected charges and delays. All carriers inspect shipments in advance, and discrepancies can lead to a reweight or reclassification fee. Inexperienced shippers frequently make mistakes that can cause an unexpected spike in costs. The errors often involve inaccurate measurements or calculations. Here are some easy instructions for measuring your freight to help you avoid unnecessary charges and delivery delays.

What is the right way to measure freight?

Precision measurements and calculations of your shipments can have an impact on shipping costs and on-time delivery. This can be challenging for businesses with freight shipments consisting of numerous sizes of boxes and crates – not to mention other packing types such as palletized loads and various uniquely shaped objects. All these elements require special methods or measurement and preparation for shipment.

NOTE: Your shipping cost is based on either actual or dimensional weight (density), whichever is greater. Therefore, both weight measurements must be recorded accurately on your BOL.

Step 1 — Measure Dimensions

First, measure the length, width and height of your packaged freight. Be sure to measure the inches from the farthest points on each of your boxes, crates or pallets in your total freight load. If you are shipping multiple handling units, you will need to measure each one.

Step 2 — Multiply Dimensions to Calculate Cubic Inches

Multiply the length times the width. Multiply that number times the height to calculate the total cubic inches of freight volume for each handling unit.

Example: To find the cubic inches of a pallet that is 48 inches long, 48 inches wide and 50 inches high, you multiply 48x48x50=115,000 cubic inches.

Step 3 — Convert to Cubic Feet

Next, divide the total cubic inches for all your combined freight in the shipment by the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot, which is 1,728. That calculation will tell you the total cubic feet of your freight.

In our above example, we would take 115,000 / 1,728 = 66.67 cubic feet.

Step 4 — Calculate Density

Finally, take the number of pounds in your freight shipment and divide it by the total cubic feet measurement. This calculation tells you the freight density. For multiple pallets, add the weight of each pallet together before dividing by the total cubic feet of the shipment. You’ll need to round fractions to the nearest full cubic foot. You can use our handy calculator here to find freight density.

Still have questions about measuring freight? Unishippers is here to help.

Unishippers is a leading third-party logistics provider offering expert shipping services for small to medium-sized businesses. Contact us to get a freight quote or if you need help in ensuring proper freight measurements.

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